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Felony Plea Down To Misdemeanor

Kent, WA |

There seems to be a lot of house burnings lately.

If someone threatens that, by words, to burn someone house down with the occupants in it, first, would that be a "threat to kill" if the word kill was never used? In Kilburn the word kill was never used. The boy simply said he would "bring a gun and shoot everybody." The decent on the losing side argued that was a threat to kill.

And second, how could there be a plea to a lower charge, in the "burn your house down?"
It is not a general “I’ll punch you in the nose” therefore "any bodily harm" can be charged…

And third, If a plea goes down to say disorderly in District Court, does the lower court prosecutors then, after the [new] charge have the option to dismiss the case even though Superior set new court date in case plea goes haywire.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. If a case is filed as a felony in Superior Court, then it stays in Superior Court even if it's reduced to a misdemeanor.

    Threats to kill can be interpreted many ways, every case is a little different and weighs on little nuances. Hard to give advice unless it's advice from the attorney actually handling the case and unless that attorney has handled such cases in the past.

    Yes, disorderly conduct is a likely reduction. Given the facts you've stated, seems like a reasonably good result. Plea to a lower charge can always be done by following the case: In Re Barr.

    Hire a good attorney and follow their advice on this case.

    JensenLegal.com (206) 617-9173


  2. To answer your questions in order:
    1) It depends on what was said: "I'm going to burn this house down around you and all you family and you will all burn in hell" is substantially different than saying "I'm going to burn your house down." So it depends on the facts of the specific threat.

    2) If the case was charged as a felony, it could be plea to a gross misdemeanor harassment.

    3) I think what you are asking is whether the case would be transferred to District Court once the reduction is to a misdemeanor? The answer to that is no, the case would stay in Superior Court for plea, sentence and for any review of conditions of that sentence.


  3. I agree with Kris. This reduction to a misdemeanor plea would appear (based only on what you have stated in your question) to be a good deal. Very good.

    Pleas can be withdrawn under certain circumstances. The Superior Court setting a trial date for the case as a backup maintains jurisdiction until the matter is resolved. If the plea is entered in District Court, the Superior Court action ends.

    Can the district court dismiss the charge? Theoretically, yes. However, I seriously doubt that the prosecutor assigned to the felony case has not already discussed the matter with the district court supervisor (for the deputies assigned to that district court) and made it abundantly clear they don't want to go down that road.

    Defense filing a motion to dismiss is something to carefully think through. Seriously. The case has already been reduced, and filing what the judge (and prosecutor) may feel is a frivolous motion to dismiss may end up backfiring and the judge might impose a different sentence than what you agree to do with the prosecutor.


  4. You must look into the intent of the individual....arson is a specific intent crime.

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